The number of organ transplants has declined over the past two years as donations and life-saving surgeries suffer from Covid-19.
That meant only 190 patients received the gift of life in 2020, although the number of transplants rose again last year to 206.
The intensive care specialist Dr. Catherine Motherway, HSE clinical lead in transplants, said there was a lack of knowledge about Covid-19 as a viral disease at the outset.
“However, we are now able to verify that the virus is not being passed on,” she said.
dr Motherway spoke at the launch of Organ Donor Awareness Week as up to 600 people are currently on a waiting list for a new kidney, heart, liver, lung or pancreas.
This year’s message is “Share your wishes” and encourage people to get a donor card or let their loved ones know they hope to donate their organs should a sudden tragedy happen.
She said it is important for those closest to you to know your wishes and allow doctors to respect them in difficult situations.
A presentation by Professor Paolo Grossi of the University of Insubria in Italy at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Lisbon said there is mounting evidence that organ donation from people who die after testing positive for Covid is safe and not transferred to the recipient.
Among those thanking the donors for their generosity yesterday was grandmother Mary McGarry, who is from Westmeath and lives in Palmerstown, Dublin, who had a single lung transplant in 2018.
Ms McGarry, who was accompanied to the Mansion House yesterday by her daughter Cara and six-month-old grandchild Iarlaith, told how her hopes were raised and dashed many times before the operation. “It was my seventh time being called to Mater Hospital for a transplant,” she said.
dr Christopher Neilson, a native South African and founder of the Irish Rehabilitation Center for Torture Survivors, also reported on his successful liver transplant.
In South Africa he worked as a trauma surgeon during political upheavals.
dr Neilson had his transplant at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin in 2020 when Covid-19 was raging.
However, Mathew McNeive, 23, of Knock, Co Mayo, echoed the hopes of hundreds on a waitlist.
He got a kidney in 2011 but now it has failed and he needs a new one.
https://www.independent.ie/news/600-patients-wait-for-gift-of-life-transplants-from-organ-donors-41568158.html 600 patients are waiting for “gift of life” transplants from organ donors